The COVID-19 vaccination program is still being carried out around the world. However, there are still many issues regarding the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine for people with comorbid diseases. The question is, is the COVID-19 vaccine safe to give to people with comorbid diseases, such as diabetes or hypertension?
Patients with comorbid diseases are one of the groups with a high risk of being infected with the Corona virus. If exposed to COVID-19, it is very likely that people with comorbid diseases will experience more severe symptoms, require intensive care, and are even more at risk of death.
Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines for Patients with Comorbid Diseases
Given the higher risk of death and dangerous complications in patients with comorbid diseases with COVID-19, it is important to administer the COVID-19 vaccine for people with chronic or comorbid diseases.
This is to prevent complications or severe symptoms in the group, if exposed to COVID-19.
Here are the facts about the safety of each COVID-19 vaccine used worldwide for people with comorbid illnesses:
1. Sinovac Vaccine
The Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine is a vaccine containing the Corona virus that has been weakened or killed (inactive virus).
So far, the Association of Internal Medicine Specialists has stated that the Sinovac vaccine is considered safe and may be given to patients who have certain comorbid diseases, including:
- Chronic lung disease, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or interstitial lung disease (ILD).
- Diabetes mellitus
- HIV infection, provided that the patient’s CD4 level is above 200 cells/mm3 and the patient is in good health
- Psychosomatic disorders
- Lung cancer
- Thyroid nodules
- Liver disease
2. AstraZeneca Vaccine
The AstraZeneca vaccine is a vaccine containing a genetically modified biosynthetic virus (viral vector) from the influenza virus. Based on the results of current clinical trials, the AstraZeneca vaccine is also declared safe and recommended to be given to people with comorbid diseases, such as:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Heart disease
- Circulatory disease
- Lung disease
The AstraZeneca vaccine was hit by various issues, namely the risk of blood clots that are dangerous for people with cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and heart disease.
In fact, the Association of Indonesian Cardiovascular Specialists (PERKI) does not prohibit the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for people with cardiovascular disease, as long as the comorbid disease suffered by the patient is well controlled.
Although there are indeed cases of blood clots after administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine, these cases are very rare and the death rate from this is also very low. The relationship between blood clotting cases and the COVID-19 vaccine is still being studied further.
In addition, research conducted in several countries, such as the UK, America, and Europe also states that the AstraZeneca vaccine is classified as safe for patients with comorbid diseases. Compared to the risk of side effects of the vaccine, the benefits in preventing COVID-19 are still considered to be greater.
3. Sinopharm Vaccine
Similar to the Sinovac vaccine, the Sinopharm vaccine also contains the inactivated Corona virus. So far, the WHO has stated that the Sinopharm vaccine may be given to people with HIV.
However, further research is still needed to ensure the safety of the Sinopharm vaccine for people with other comorbid diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
Therefore, the administration of the Sinopharm vaccine is currently still focused on healthy people over 16 years old or in patients whose comorbid diseases have been controlled and the patient is declared to be able to receive the vaccine by a doctor.
4. Moderna Vaccine
The Moderna vaccine is an mRNA (messenger RNA) COVID-19 vaccine. This vaccine uses a component of genetic material that will stimulate the immune system to produce spike proteins for the Corona virus.
To date, based on the results of phase 3 clinical trials, the Moderna vaccine has also been declared safe and useful to be given to people with comorbid diseases, such as:
- Kidney illness
- liver disease
- Heart disease
- Lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD
5. Pfizer Vaccine
Just like the Moderna vaccine, the Pfizer vaccine is also an mRNA-type COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer Phase 3 vaccine clinical trial states that this vaccine is safe to be given to people with comorbid diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, HIV, kidney or liver disorders, and chronic lung disease.
mRNA vaccines such as the Pfizer vaccine are also said to be safe for patients with autoimmune disorders, such as lupus. However, this still requires further research.
6. Novavax Vaccine
Novavax vaccine is a vaccine that contains a protein subunit that is made to resemble the natural protein of the Corona virus. This vaccine has passed phase 3 clinical trials in Europe, Australia and America. From these data, the COVID-19 vaccine is declared safe and useful in patients with comorbid diseases, such as HIV, diabetes, and hypertension.
Until now, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia through BPOM is still evaluating to ensure the effectiveness and safety of the Novavax vaccine, before issuing a permit for its use in Indonesia.
7. Red and White Vaccine
The Red and White Vaccine is a vaccine developed by a combination of several institutions and institutions in Indonesia. This vaccine contains important parts of the Corona virus that can stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies to fight the Corona virus.
The Red and White vaccine is still in the development stage, so its safety and benefits for patients with comorbid diseases are still unknown.
Conditions for Giving COVID-19 Vaccines for Patients with Comorbid Diseases
Regardless of the type of vaccine, generally patients with comorbid diseases may receive the COVID-19 vaccine if they meet the following requirements:
- Patients with comorbid diseases have consulted a doctor before receiving the vaccine.
- The comorbid disease had been controlled with medication prior to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Has received approval to vaccinate against COVID-19 from the treating doctor.
- Patients with comorbid disease are not experiencing COVID-19, both with and without symptoms. To be sure, patients can undergo an antigen test or PCR before undergoing vaccination.
In addition to vaccinating against COVID-19, people with comorbid diseases must also implement strict health protocols as a form of prevention against Corona virus infection.
The COVID-19 health protocols that need to be implemented include wearing masks when traveling outside the house or meeting other people, washing hands with water and soap, avoiding crowds, and maintaining a physical distance of at least 1 meter from other people.